Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lent Ponderings {Day 1}

During Lent this year...
I will be reading through Chris Seay's book, A Place at the Table: 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor, with my fellow Compassion Coordinators from over 15 different sites of our church, The Meeting House.

I love this community of Compassion Coordinators, all of us volunteering our time, passionate about and committed to leading and encouraging our church family into being the hands and feet of Jesus to people living in the margins of our society, both right here at home and globally.

It is not my first time reading through this book. In fact, this will be the third time! I had to really sort out in my heart that I wanted to do this again... not because I have to, just because my fellow Compassion Coordinators are doing so. And, I've come to the conclusion that... yes, I want to do this again! What I am most excited about, in addition to reading it in community this year, is the fact that God transforms me in a fresh way each and every time. Exciting!

Another reason why I love this book is Chris Seay's partnership with Compassion International in writing this book. It's no secret to those of you who are regulars on here that my family and I love the ministry of Compassion. In fact, all four of us are fully trained Advocates!

What Lent isn't...
So, in pondering whether or not I wanted to go through this book again for Lent this year, it really helped me to think through what Lent isn't.

I've found this blog post by Eugene Cho to be most helpful in sorting out the motives of my heart. The title of the blog post makes me chuckle, every single time:
Umm, I didn’t ask you to give up coffee. I asked you to give up your life to me.” ~ God.
Witty, yes! But honestly... soul-searchingly well-said!

And Eugene posted this on Facebook yesterday:
What we need isn’t more religion.
We need Gospel.
And by Gospel, I’m not speaking of a self-help, pop spiritual psychology, but a Gospel that cuts into the heart of humanity with a grace that compels us to not just merely salvation but a life committed to justice, reconciliation, and redemption.
Isaiah 58 speaks of fasting but fasting that God is not pleased with. It’s a fasting that caters to our own eyes, flesh, and pleasure but not the kind of fasting that God invites us to:
a life broken and transformed by the things of God.
Yes, that is why I am observing Lent this year, yet again... it is to cultivate a life broken and transformed by the things of God... to be that pencil in His hand.

So, here's to the start of 40 days of solidarity with the poor.
Will you join me, friends? I love what Lysa Terkeurst writes in the Foreword...
... this journey isn't about our power, strength of character, or self-control. It is a journey of surrender to God that will usher us from rut dwelling to transformed living. 
In the process of being transformed, we will become more and more aware not just of our hunger but of the hunger of the world. 
We will sit down at the table more eager to ponder those we might serve instead of pouncing on the plenty to which we've grown so accustomed. So very tragically accustomed. God help us. 
A place at the table. Indeed, a place at the table for God and for remembering those less fortunate. But even more so, a place to stop the rut of constant inhale. Taking in, taking in, taking in. It clogs the soul. So for 40 days, let us learn to exhale with great thanksgiving. 
For pondering what God might bring close during this fast. For this place where our souls breathe and dream once again.
That, friends... is my prayer too! Join me?

Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

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